“While Ross Douthat is busy enumerating the truths overlooked by the media, he neglects to mention perhaps the most important truth of all. While both sides of this debate have a moral foundation upon which to stand, only one side tries to insist that the other live according to its morals.
The pro-choice movement does not demand that those opposed to abortion have one. Yet, the pro-life movement has no qualms about foisting its interpretation of the truth on those with differing religious convictions.”
Even if one completely ignores the fact that this is a completely invalid argument (after all, even if it is true it does not disprove in the least bit Mr. Douthat’s argument), it still does not change the fact that it is just plain wrong. It implicitly suggests that pro-choicers are not forcing their views on others and pro-lifers are. The truth is, both sides are forcing their views on others.
While it is true that pro-choicers do not demand people to have an abortion if they do not want one, this is a non sequitor because it is not even the pro-choice position. Nobody, pro-life or pro-choice, suggests that pro-choicers generally want to force people to have abortions. What they are forcing, however, is for the acceptability and legality of abortion as a purely medical procedure (as opposed to an act of murder).
Thus, the statement “you don’t have to have an abortion if you don’t want one” is a statement that is a must for the pro-choicer to make if they are to be consistent with what they believe to be the morally objective truth that abortion should be an acceptable option for any woman to make. To suggest that such a statement is the right statement to make only begs the question, then, if they don’t, first, prove that abortion is nothing more than a necessary medical procedure.
Similarly, the statement “you should not, under any circumstances, have an abortion” is a statement that is a must for the pro-lifer to make if they are to be consistent with what they believe to be the morally objective truth that abortion is the murder of an innocent human person with the right to life. For the pro-choicer to suggest that such a statement is wrong to force on others, then, is also begging the question if they do not, first, prove the pro-lifer wrong in their belief that abortion is an act of murder.
In conclusion, the idea that “only one side tries to insist that the other live according to its morals” is, at best, misleading and, at worst, the result of a dictatorship of moral relativism. Both sides believe that they are right; both force their views on others who disagree with them; both claim to have the moral high-ground. Only one actually does, though. Thus, for one to claim that the other is wrong in forcing their beliefs on others without proving why such a belief is wrong in the first place only assumes the very point that they, by rules of logic, are required to prove: that their belief is the correct one and their opponents’ belief is not.